I'm constantly told that my winter addiction of slow cooker beef casseroles is unhealthy. Too stodgy, too fatty, all that meat, all that oil, and then all those carbs that are added. But I'm here to tell you that slow cooker beef casserole CAN be healthy! High in iron, protein and vegies - all it takes is a little tweaking.
My trusty slow cooker!
Please don't be alarmed by the long ingredients and method list. It's really a very simple (and flexible) list - I promise!
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 4 hours in the slow cooker on high
Serves: 2 adults and 2 toddlers for dinner and lunch the following day.
Some lovely ingredients to go into the casserole - it's not ALL about the meat!
About 500grams of slow cooker beef
4 small potatoes
1 tin of chopped or crushed tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
About 1/4 cup of red wine (I just used some pinot noir I had in the fridge!)
A sprinkle of Italian herbs
1 small sweet potato
some button mushrooms
a tin of lentils
a handful of frozen peas
a handful of olives
Crumbled feta and basil leaves to serve
Cooked quinoa and rice mix to serve
Method: 1) Remove some of the visible fat from the beef. I find that it pulls off quite easily with my fingers. Pop the meat in the slow cooker (that's right - no browning required!).
Pulling the fat off the meat makes this dish a bit healthier than "regular" slow cooker beef without diminishing flavour.
2) Chop the potatoes, carrots and onion into large pieces and add to the cooker. Top with the tomatoes, garlic, wine and herbs. Mix thoroughly and turn the slow cooker onto high.
3) After about 2 hours add the sweet potato and pumpkin.
4) An hour after that add the zucchini, mushrooms and lentils.
5) About 15 mins before you will be serving add in the frozen peas and olives. Cook up the quinoa and rice according to packet instructions.
Ready to serve
6) Once everything is ready serve in a bowl. Add some crumbled feta and basil leaves on top.
A beautiful, healthy, slow cooked beef casserole - YUM!
**As always use whatever vegies you have in whatever quantity best works for you. If only one person likes pumpkin only add a small amount; if everyone likes pumpkin add heaps! Parsley would work well with this if you don't like basil.
**If you require a low sodium diet skip the olives and feta.
**As long as you ensure any packaged ingredients are gluten free this is a great, easy, gluten free meal.